Gencon fuckn whirlwind

This con went FAST, which usually means we were having fun or we were drunk or a mix of both.

We got in our Shadowfist draft after many years, which I will detail in another post on it’s own, Matt and I played in the Keyforge sealed tournament, we played a lot of ROOT, some Runequest and Mutant Crawl Classics.

The house of cards was still there after all these years of DEAD CCG’s.

Keyforge

This was damn fun and the people were great. It’s hard to be a complete pysse-ant when your decks are randomized and no one knows what they are going to get. My deck was absolute shit, and since I’m a n00b player, I didn’t do well. Really, I can blame the deck on this one for sure which is how the cookie crumbles. Fun game, cool expansion and really cheap buy in with the core set and two random decks. And they had a fuckn vending machine for decks.

One thing to remember is that you can MULLIGAN if you don’t like your first draw.

Mutant Crawl Classics

MCC/DCC: you can be nearly certain that you’re going to get a good GM, a good CON adventure and a romping good time when you sign up for one of these games, and we did. The scenario took place on the Metamorphosis Alpha mothership and involved our (funnel) characters being ejected from our home area to the “death zone.” A bunch of us got robot parts (my pure strain human got a robot head!), we defeated some mutant cyborg hippo and then had all but two of the 18 characters wiped out by someone failing to learn to use a grenade properly while we stood on a ledge with no railing (I had gone off to piss when this happened, so I can’t be blamed!!). Only my manimal Squirrel with her bubble helmet survived. Looking forward to more of this one once Matt fires it the fuck up!

Runequest

This is the Chaosium RQ and not RQ6, so heavy Glorantha throughout. It was the second time I’ve played and it was OK, the combat system is not on the same level for easy of play and intensity as Mythras (RQ6) at all, but Glorantha can be interesting. I’ve had RQ GM’s that have shown up with just a piece of scratch paper, some pregens and dice and it was fantastic, but this wasn’t one of those, it was just OK and for four hours of your con, that’s tough.

ROOT

We played two games, one 4 player and one massive 7-player game at the Hyatt. Both Patrick Leder and his ops manager came by to say hi during the (5 hour?) game which was awesome. The 7-player game is absolutely insane and some factions just don’t stand much of a chance (i.e.: the area control ones). While the vagabond didn’t win, it was the Lizards at 29, Vagabond (Ranger) at 26 and the Otters at 30 in the end FTW, which should tell you a bit about how the game went. The Cats and the Birds had to simultaneously chase the vagabonds around, destroy sympathy as well as trading posts while at the same time trying to score a few points here at there. While certainly a bit unbalanced for the area control factions, 10/10, would play 7 player yet again.

Near the end of the LOOOONG 7 player game.

Other stuff I saw

Other than gaming, I did a share of wandering around the dealer hall and the various areas.

DUNE is really coming out, and soon! GF9 really got on the horse and produced the game quickly–I figured based on the past that they would take long into 2020 to get the game out but, nope, it’s out next month. The new set looks good and I am very interested in the rules changes. I do think the leader pieces are too small, but the art is good and the map and box both look beautiful. We will be able to play this again rather than our 1980 copies sitting in the safest shelf possible in our houses only to be brought out every few years!

Having the board game ‘check out’ be a ticketed event SUCKS, it’s much better at Gary and Gamehole con where you just walk up, give your drivers license and play whatever.

Pathfinder 2nd edition was a big release during the con and again, like 2008 or so, they had MASSIVE stacks of books. It’s got to be tough when you build a direct clone of an older game and then do a second edition of that clone.

Harassment signs. I’ve been going to GENCON every year since 1993 or so and I think it is the most accepting convention for ALL types of people, freaks, deviants, nerds, etc. one can imagine. It just goes without saying that it’s completely unacceptable for people to be mean to the weird or normal alike, so I’m not sure why these signs are necessary to put up on every single door in the entire convention center. Do they really mean ONLINE harassment?

The Gencon App was really helpful– and saved a lot of paper with those big con books with their (outdated) event lists. Get it for sure if you go.

BIRDS and LIMES. This was a fantastic addition to the Con. We had one incident where Matt parked the car and JP forgot his badge, and instead of having to walk 45 minutes to the car and back, we tossed a few bucks at the BIRDS and it was really and excuse to ride a motor scooter for 15 minutes total! In Milwaukee, everyone had to have helmets and ride on the road and stuff, which is fine. However, in Indy you can ride all over the place, no helmets no nothing. I would only say people SHOULD have to ride with a helmet, but then be able to go all over, on sidewalks, whatever. Sure there will be drunken accidents and all that, but no different than people riding a bike around.

Gwar was there again, and they had a game to boot.

Gencon Auction! I hadn’t been in this thing for years and it was great. I may spend most of a day in there one of these cons. So much shit for cheap and the consignment store had some ridiculous deals.

Triumphant Entrance Man. We saw him again at an MTG booth looking and triumphant as ever (and lost some weight as well) and took some pics.

Best cosplay of the con!

Gencon bound tomorrow!

Here we go for another fucking Gencon. When oh when will I learn? The overpriced everything, the MASSIVE crowds (and I mean that on every level) and the constant hunt for the awesome thing– when really this year I would be fine staying at home with a bunch of friends and playing a whole lotta ROOT instead.

That said, I’ll be able to see some homies from across the lands (not as many this year are going), and play some stuff that I wouldn’t ever have a chance to, so that’s good. I think until our kids are old enough, gone are the days where a whole shitload of us would ditch the kids for the weekend and go down for all four days. It may be better to go back to what I used to do: drive down Friday, stay saturday and leave Sunday. Ahhhh well, in a moment of weakness and Maat’s prompting, I’m in it for all four days.

Events! I’m in what should be a very cool FASERIP miniatures Free For All battle. I’ll post impressions and the rules and all that shit when I get back from the con. Second I got into the Keyforge tournament, which should be ridiculous. RPG-wise we are in a Mutant Crawl Classics game and a game of Mythras on Saturday morning at 8 AM (let’s see if we make this one).

Most importantly though is the self run SHADOWFIST DRAFT! I got together all my remaining boxes of Shadowfist and we have a few people ready to draft and play. It’s going to be a real shit swarm of decks as we are starting with:

Standard Starter – Absolute DRECK of cards, the lowest of the low. When I look at this stuff, I’m shocked that Shadowfist survived after it’s first Limited run…so much garbage.

Boosters of the following:

  • Standard Booster – More of the same crap and still no hitters to find…
  • Empire of Evil – everyone will be hoping for the best with their booster here
  • Netherworld 2 – good stuff, just need to get lucky
  • Throne War – great set, but pretty big… so chances are slim
  • Boom Shaka Laka – in for the LOL’S. Maybe someone will get a good dragon card or…?

This should be enough to get a semi functional deck out of and we have pods of feng shui and foundations. Should be a great time, if we can only get a couple 3-man tables anyway.

So see you after with pics and other nonsense. Luckily I can’t spend much money on anything, so there won’t be the horde of crap I come back with this year. Hoping to find a decently priced John Company, Conquest of Paradise or Fire in the Lake, but that’s it.

Gencon 2018!

I headed down to Gencon on nearly a whim and it was pretty good. This means that I haven’t missed a Gencon since 1992.  That’s a LOT of Gencons.   This year I was trying to take a break after the insanity of the 50th anniversary last summer and all that, but broke down with both desire and some peer pressure from Matt.

Matt said it was his favorite Gencon ever as he got to game a lot and didn’t have to waste time on taking FAR too much time going out to eat, which is a massive timesink when you add it up.  Going to the RAM for lunch will take at least 2-3 hours minimum and then you are spun back into the Con drunk.

I only went on Saturday for reals and after wandering the hall a bit (trying not to buy anything this year), I got over to the CUBICLE 7 booth and had a chat with none other than Graeme Davis of WFRP fame who was showing off a binder with pages from 4th edition.  Mr. Davis, along with others, wrote the Enemy Within, Shadows over Boganhoffen, Rough Night at Three Feathers and many other great modules for one of the most important RPG’s ever.  WFRP 4 is going to be a merger of 1st and 2nd edition WFRP with nothing from Fantasy Flight’s 3rd edition (no funky dice or chits all over the place or cards for actions).  In addition, he has been tasked with writing the 4th edition Enemy Within in which, he said, would be surprises that help if players have played the 1st edition campaign as well as doing it closer to the original 1E edition.  Davis also co-wrote the 3rd edition version of the Enemy Within for Fantasy Flight.  Talking to Mr. Davis about this subject made the failed BIRD ride from downtown Milwaukee and drive down to Indy the night before totally worth it– the rest of the con was GRAVY.

After that WFRP fangasm, we got in another game of Rising Sun and I pulled out a win, which was the third in the row with different clans (the Fox, Butterfly and Turtle clans respectively).  I don’t usually win Blood Rage, though I love it, so I’m not sure how it’s happening with Rising Sun except via simple experience.  It’s becoming a favorite of the group.

I got in a game of Runequest (the new version from Chaosium) that was OK, the pre-gen character sheets were in the same format as the Free RPG day ones and they really sucked.  Please just list the fucking spells instead of saying “all common rune spells” so that the players, some who are totally new to RQ, have to go look them up in the book that they don’t have.  Another issue with RQ as a CON game is that it expects and demands vast knowledge of the Glorantha background, which, IMO is something to be slowly revealed over the course of a long campaign.  People aren’t going to know all the gods of the Glorantha pantheon– so don’t do CON scenarios that expect players to have that knowledge at all.   The scenario was a typical Glorantha one, with some Broo and some chaos getting all over the place and having to be cleaned up, but had a lot of stuff about the Lightbringers and Orlanthi stuff which all had to be explained in detail.  It was pretty good, but I just do not think Glorantha-based Runequest is much of a CON game.  System wise I miss the Mythras special effects in combat–they copied RQ6’s excellent Passions system: why didn’t they copy it’s superlative combat system as well?  The new RQ Glorantha book looks beautiful though, so should be picked up at some point.  They only had 200 at the CON for sale and I think they sold out pretty quick.

After RQ, I ran DCC for the gang in a very large hall of people and had to talk really loudly. I had to run down to the business center in the hotel in order to print off random characters for the game at the cost of 8$.  I need to remember to bring a huge stack of characters EVERYWHERE I go.   The session was pretty much proof that you can run DCC anywhere under very severe conditions.  I did Frozen in Time which is take on Expedition to the Barrier Peaks except all DCC.  We got fairly far into the module until people started to fall asleep on account of the hour and the drink.  That may be one to finish off.

Other than wandering the dealer hall a bit on Sunday and pestering Tom Babbey at his art booth, buying the obligatory DCC modules, that was pretty much my GENCON.

Some pictures.

I don’t know what these guys are supposed to be but Matt does.

Matt got this lady to do this for reasons I don’t know. He said it was some sort of explosion woman?

The guys playing the almost the best RPG.

The gaming halls were totally packed most of the time.

Rising Sun, pointing.

Gencon 2017 – that’s a wrap!

It’s Sunday night and I’m beat.  We were up until 3am playing a cracking game of A Study In Emerald wherein MOUTH failed to disclose via his actions in game which faction he was on due to rather erratic play.  I was in the lead after destroying a couple royals but the Loyalists could have pulled out a win if they crushed my partner in restoration who was down to a single agent on the board.   Mouth, shockingly, played a card to push the Loyalist War Track up to 10, ending the game, at which time he revealed himself to be a Loyalist. This after murdering another Loyalist player’s agents with the Vampire (Matt’s).  Madness.

ASIE is a fantastic game, every time I play I get better at it and it gets more fun!

I spent some cash at the con, needless to say. Notable stuff I picked up: Decision at Elst, a Squad Leader starter kit campaign, SECRETS by Eric Lang, Ethnos, 1914 Quartermaster General and I went ahead and spent the 30$ to get the board game geek exclusive Blood Rage miniature (Hili).

I got to see CMON’s Rising Sun played, and saw someone walking around with a copy (they won it in a charity auction) so I think Rising Sun may be closer to shipping than we have info on from Kickstarter.   I also got to see Massive Darkness played, which, while I kickstarted it, I’m not totally sold on the co-operative gameplay yet.  Nice minis though right?

One odd game we got to play was Mr. MeeSeeks (from Rick and Morty) which is pretty great if you can play with girls and are drunk.  It is not an all-guys game WHATSOEVER.  I saw, but did not get to play Anatomy Park, also from Rick and Morty.

RPG’s were fun but a bit scarce this year.  I played in an excellent game of Mythras based on the 80’s sci fi world Luther Arkwright.   I’m going to pick up that book and see if it will work well for a BPRD style game.  We played as Luther, Rose, another sex-addict character from the graphic novel, the Avengers (emma peel, johnathan steed) and Dr. Who (8th) in a sort of murder mystery, find the bomb game with dueling psychics and science!  It was great fun.

My Mythras game was set in 1648 during the battle of Roicroi and the characters were Walloon deserters from a defeated tercio who fled into the town only to find it very strange indeed.  Everything ended with a double hendersen and I feel I did a good job for only two hours of play.

The following day I ran Sailors on the Starless Sea, a DCC funnel adventure) for a big and rotating group of people who got exceedingly drunk during the affair.  It was a lot of fun for me to try to manage the chaos, but it became too loud with the yelling for anyone to hear, so we didn’t get the adventure done on account of gin and the like.   Someday I will finish running that all the way through: it is a pivotal module for DCC fans.

My favorite new game of the Con is probably Ethnos, but I really like Quartermaster General 1914 as well.  We played about half a game of that and it clicked for all the players (too late at night though!).  We’ll see which of those get more play.  Ethnos with 6 players is really difficult to manage as a euro.

My favorite non-gaming thing was the Museum.  I hope they do that every year.  We get a mini one every Gary Con, but this was gencon big and had a ton of really cool stuff.

One thing my brother said on the way home was that Gencon is an anomaly from normal life because everyone is NICE.  Packed in to a dealer hall, destroyed bathrooms and feeding areas you’d thing there would be dickheads and fights and yelling (remember, a LOT of people are drunk and high at gencon, like any other convention) but I never saw a single thing that wasn’t nice.  That is really saying something, especially sitting in the Trump era where people seem to be going out of their way sometimes to be total cunts.

Pics are forthcoming.  Now back to the grind.

 

GENCon 2017 day…. uhhhh

i guess it’s Saturday already.  My Mythras game went well despite fucking up and signing up for only two hours rather than four.  We tried to get through The DCC funnel sailors on the starless sea but near total drunkenness ensued and the characters were left on the ship ready for a TPK, which was awesome.  I’m going to make a big picture post when I get back home.

And probably more ricks

GENCON 2016- The Runequest games

I signed up for FOUR Runequest/Mythras games at Gencon this year and made it to three of them.  The first one we had a big group in and it was very good, probably the best RQ session I’ve had.

The scenario had the Roman 8th Legion which disappeared in England actually make it to the New world and set up a Roman style camp city in the Algonquin lands.  The players played either First people or some of the Romans (all pre-generated). A mysterious attack on an Algonquin chieftain brings the two groups together– for a time.  This was an excellent short adventure with mystery, exploration, traps and a brutal combat to cap it off.  There was good use of passions as well, something I need to work on in my own RQ games.  Dice-wise we were rolling criticals ALL day long– and my character, an Algonquin brave, was able to take down one of the mid-bosses with a single arrow shot!  All in all, since this one was with friends, a good GM and the historical-weird stuff that is totally in my wheel house, I was super pleased with this game.  I don’t want to go too deep into what happened as I assume the GM will publish this adventure somewhere.

privledge

The second game was also good, but I didn’t have any of my friends there so wasn’t too great, plus the were some very silly social justice warrior comments made due to the fact that playing a game with characters in 1100’s England is not the same as playing characters in a game set in the post 1995 world.  This game was set in an era of the very early middle ages with iron-fisted feudal lords, miserable peasantry, xenophobia on a level incomprehensible to modern man for fucksakes!   In this scenario, which had the same GM as the Algonquin-Roman game, we were to free King Stephen from the clutches of Geoffrey of Anjou after his capture at the battle of Lincoln.  While this was also a historical scenario, it was very tough to get into at first since I was fairly unfamiliar with this conflict (the Anarchy is the official name) and there were a lot of names to remember.  Also the problem, getting into a castle and into that castles dungeon, was quite difficult and could (remember this is Runequest!) have gone very badly for the characters at many points.  Luckily and due to some smart play by our priest, we were able to bluff our way into the castle as workmen (workwomen in my character’s case) with a lot of help from the faculty staff and free the king in the end.  The highpoint was giving some knights a laxative and then slaughtering them in Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay fashion as they charged out of the loo in their long shirts. Rule to remember RQ/Mythras fans: ALWAYS WEAR A HELMET.

I was able to note a couple tweaks from RQ6 to Mythras that I definitely think make it a better game on top of already the best game. You can do a few new things with Luck Points than you could before, such as reversing the numbers on your rolled die or giving your character an extra action point (!).

The last game I made it to was CLASSIC FANTASY, which is a Mythras/RQ take on old school fantasy gaming.  We had pre-gen characters again of your standard classes from Basic D&D.  I played the wizard and other than roleplaying or providing tactical ideas, I pretty much only fired off my Magic Missile in combat.  The scenario was interesting, but the GM did not drop us into the slaughter straight away (a staple of Old school games) but had a lengthy campaign-starting intro description that he actually repeated TWICE for us as there was a player that showed up late.

mythras

In old school fashion, the game was a dungeon crawl with some interesting traps and tricks scattered about and, of course, constant combat.  We probably got into six fights during the session (I could only stay for 3 hours of it though), so many that we were a bit fight-numb.  However, this was the first time I had play RQ with miniatures on a grid, like Pathfinder.  It seemed to work well, with very little confusion about where everyone is.  However, this turns a dynamic, imagination game into a tactical miniatures game where the focus is solely on the board and pieces in front of the players.  If I was going to run a Classic Fantasy game, I would eschew the use of minis and especially a grid unless truly necessary.  I use a map with miniatures in 13th Age all the time for fights, but it’s a gridless game with very loose (yet mechanically integrated) distances.  Counting off spaces when you are playing Space Hulk or Advanced Heroquest (and you could lump 4E D&D into this board game group) is fine, but in and RPG? It’s just not necessary and is pretty annoying.

The Magic system in Classic Fantasy is just what you would expect– RQ mechanics on top of the standard Sleep, Magic missile, Cloud Kill, etc.  I really had only magic missile, as noted earlier, and fired it off quite a bit, but mostly missed my casting rolls.  Due to the class and level system being applied to RQ in Classic Fantasy, characters start a bit weaker than your standard RQ characters.  A fighter in RQ is going to to have a 60%+ in his main combat skill, sometimes even into the high 70’s.   Magic users in standard RQ will have a high casting value for Sorcery or Theism– they will fail from time to time, but it will be rare– usually their skill will come in to play when in opposition to something else.  Classic Fantasy characters, at least the pregens we had, had 40’s and 50’s for their skills, so there was a lot of whiffing.  While in close combat a whiff can mean death as the opponent can parry and get a special effect, casting spells or shooting arrow whiffing isn’t too fun when it’s close to 50%.   When both sides have sub 50% skill at fighting, it can make for a long fight if special effects aren’t used.

Since there were so many combats, some vs monsters and odd things, there was some hand waving around the special effects.   As a GM and player of RQ: don’t do this.  Special effects are an integral part of the game, and it’s one of those things that makes RQ/Mythras D100 far better than Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay.  Special effects make combat go quickly and make your rolls, especially in close combat with actual weapons matter every time you touch the dice.

Lesson from this last game for GMs: when you sit down to run a CON RPG game– time is fleeting so GREASE UP AND GET FUCKING. This isn’t your home campaign!  Any dithering will be seen of as terrible.  Throw the characters immediately into a situation and get them making choices, don’t wait, don’t explain much, just start PLAY.  In my Lamentations game, after character creation, the players were at the base of the Tower of the Stargazer within minutes and the first roll for death was just a few minutes after that.  Go go go.  Players aren’t there to SHOP or listen to back story!

Mythras
Mythras

So yeah, Mythras, the direct heir to Runequest 6 is going to be good– and between drafts of this post, Mythras is now available in PDF format on Drive Thru.  No announcement of the actual physical book yet, but Mythic Rome is next on the slab for release.

Genconnery 2016

we are at the last real day of the con, Sunday being mop up and all that.  It’s crowded as fuck, with long lines and smells and bumping into huge backpacks.  We are staying at the Alexander which is a hike from the con, but real shi shi and has tons of room for gaming.  I made the mistake of getting new shoes before the con and my feet are fucked with blisters– so bad I have to wear flip flops for likely a week!

image

We got in a great Runequest game with a Roman legion in pre colonization North America.  I got to play the Others for a bit (should be at my house today!) and picked up Bloodborne the card game which plays ok.  Otherwise I haven’t bought much stuff, instead we’ve been eating like kings of the earth.

I ran my Lamentations of the flame princess event yesterday and it was good.  I had only one player who was pretty much half asleep the whole time who did manage to wake up and free Calcidus the bad wizard from his salt circle.  He then left the game shortly after as the other players then had to clean up that mess which nearly ended in a TPK.

We played LotFP later that day with steve, but that deserves its own write up.

Gencon Tomorrow! Blood Rage tonight!

Tomorrow begins the madness that is Gencon, the crush of the crowds, the heated toilet seats, the Fantasy Flight and CMON booth lines, the selling of THE OTHERS to people that didn’t kickstart it while those of us that did have to fucking WAIT FOR IT in the mails, the signs that tell people politely to PLEASE SHOWER DURING THE CON and finally, those that such signs were written for walking around in a thick crowd stinking up the entire vendor area.  Some of the people you can smell a certain smell from the front (jungle rot?), and a different smell from the back (rectal sauces?).

I’m not in a lot of games this year, it being impossible to get into an event with friends due to the player to game ratio these days, but I am running one session of Lamentations of the Flame Princess, so we’ll see how that shit goes with fucking strangers.  I’m hoping for some non-insane people. That’s all I ask.  The game I got in to play was Mythras (runequest) Classic Fantasy which is the RQ take on the Old School D&D genre. Really looking forward to that.

Otherwise I have to say, after going to Gencon for at least 22 years straight now, I’m thinking I may take a break after this year and rely on some local cons for the gaming.

Stuff I really like to do though:

  • Go through Warhammer bits boxes that these guys bring. Epic, Blood Bowl, WFB– so much good stuff…
  • Talk to the Dungeon Crawl Classics guys. People put a lot of onus on LotFP, but DCC is the other “leg” of the OSR, one that puts out great shit consistently.
  • Get drunk at the ram
  • Taking pictures of strange looking people– and they keep getting stranger and stranger both in costumes and people you think are in costumes, but aren’t. Granted when I started going as a wee lad it was all bearded fat guys hunched over hexboards.

Tonight though BLOOD RAGE!

bloodragestuffs

Gencon events, what a chore!

Why do I still go to Gencon?  I’m thinking the smaller cons (especially around here) are going to fit the bill better than the 60K attendance monstrosity.  Having everyone ready for 11 AM today was a bitch, people got together as if it was some sort of business meeting.  Fucksake, this is what you have to go through to get events? Madness.   Despite the craziness, the online system is pretty amazing.  While confusing at times, it parses a shocking amount of information in a fairly short amount of time.   Coordination is the fucking thing.  If we weren’t trying to get into games together, it would be a lot easier, but half the fun is playing with part strangers, part amigos.

I got all my Runequest requests, but nothing else.  I ain’t complaining.  The only game I really wanted other than that was Feng Shui 2 and, though there were no games, Shinobigami Modern Ninja Battle Game.

And I’m running a Lamentations of the Flame Princess game.  First event I’ve ever run there after all these decades of going.   I was thinking either that, Into the Odd or Feng Shui 2 and LotFP won out.  I’m going to run an entrant (randomly from a set of 10 good ones) from the one page dungeon contest.